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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Don't call it a "Poll Tax"... it a "Poll Donation".

Article from the Saturday edition of the Scranton Times linked HERE.

I realize that this is most likely not a big deal; some poll workers want some beer or pierogi money, so they put out a donation basket. What's the harm? After all, these are small towns where the residents each other, so it's not as if people are actually intimidated.

Okay, got that formality out of the way, so on to the truth.

This IS a problem. Yes, in the minds of some residents they do live in close-knit communities where strangers just pass through. Unfortunately, the anti-outsider deflector shields surrounding these communities failed years ago, and we now live in a society that is much more mobile. While having a donation basket may seem "quaint" and "friendly" to those on the inside, to those of us on the outside...such as new arrivals to a community...there is another word that comes to mind: "intimidating".

There is also a little issue called "the law". The mere suggestion that money is required in order to vote runs afoul of the law. What law? Isn't just this "big brother" or "the evil ACLU" creating more rights that just defile our local communities?

No, the law here is actually pretty simple...

...the 24th Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits poll taxes for Federal elections.
...the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibits paying to vote in all other elections

Look, I am reasonably sure that the intent here wasn't to prevent people from voting. However the world is full of good intentions that result in bad outcomes. It's time for the appropriate local officials to make it clear that tipping baskets belong in restaurants, not places where people go to exercise their rights.

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